Nevile, Alexander

, an English poetical writer, was a native of Kent, descended from the ancient and honourable family of Nevil, was the son of Richard Nevil of the county of Nottingham, esq. by Anne Mantel, daughter of sir Walter Mantel, of Heyford in Northamptonshire, knight. He was born in 1544. If not educated at Cambridge, his name occurs as having received the degree of M. A. there, along with Robert earl of Essex, July 6, 1581. He was one of the learned men whom archbishop Parker retained in his family, and was his secretary at his grace’s death in 1575. It is no small testimony of his merit and virtues that he was retained in the same of-, fice by the succeeding archbishop, Grindal, to whom, as well as to archbishop Parker, he dedicated his Latin narrative of the Norfolk insurrection under Kett. To this he added a Latin account of Norwich, accompanied by an engraved map of the Saxon and British kings. These were both written in archbishop Parker’s time, who assisted Nevile in the latter. The title is, “Kettus, sive de furoribus Norfolciensium Ketto duce,” Lond. 1575, 4to. | reprinted both in Latin and English the same year, in Latin in 1582, and in English in 1615 and 1623. Prefixed are some verses on the death of archbishop Parker, and the epistle dedicatory to Grindal, with a recommendatory Latin poem, by Thomas Drant, the first translator of Horace. His “Norvicus,” published with the preceding, is the first printed account of Norwich; the plates are by R. Lyne and Rem. Hogenbergius, both attached to the household of the learned and munificent Parker. There are copies of almost all the preceding editions in Mr. Cough’s library at Oxford. Strype has published, in the appendix to his Life of Parker, an elegant Latin letter from Nevile to Parker, which is prefixed to the “Kettus.” The first Latin edition, printed in 1575, is dedicated solely to -Parker: and the second, of the same year, which has the two dedications, has also a passage, not in the former, and probably struck out by Parker, which gave offence to the Welsh. It occurs at p. 132, “Sed enim Kettiani rati,” &c, to “Nam prosterquam quod,” &c. p. 133.

Nevile published the Cambridge verses on the death of sir Philip Sidney, in 1587, and projected a translation of Livy, but never completed it. Another work of his is entitled “Apologia ad Walliae proceres,” Lond. 1576, 4to. Doubtless an apology for the passage abovementioned, which had given offence. He also translated, or rather paraphrased, the “CEdipus,” in his sixteenth year, as part of a translation of Seneca’s tragedies translated by Studley, Nuce, Hey wood, &c. and printed in 1581. Warton says, that notwithstanding the translator’s youth, it is by far the most spirited and elegant version of the whole collection, and that it is to be regretted that he did not undertake all the rest. He died Oct. 4, 1614, and was buried in the cathedral at Canterbury. 1


Warton’s Hist. of Poetry.—Restituta, vol. I.—Strype’s Parker, p. 502.— Strype’s Grindal, p. 196.—Gough’s Topography.